The fragility of the banks was easily disguised: “value,” in the financial markets, was as elusive as “meaning” in deconstruction.
If the invention of derivatives was the financial world’s modernist dawn, the current crisis is unsettlingly like the birth of postmodernism. For anyone who studied literature in college in the past few decades, there is a weird familiarity about the current crisis: value, in the realm of finance capital, evokes the elusive nature of meaning in deconstructionism. According to Jacques Derrida, the doyen of the school, meaning can never be precisely located; instead, it is always “deferred,” moved elsewhere, located in other meanings, which refer and defer to other meanings—a snake permanently and necessarily eating its own tail.
Specters of Marx?
When it comes to the free global movement of capital, there is no plan B. Are there any unreconstructed Marxists left, anywhere in the wild? (Universities don’t count.) If there are, now would be a good moment for one of them to publish a book saying that the man in the beard would regard himself as having been proved right.